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Summer of Night (Seasons of Horror #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  13,478 Ratings  ·  769 Reviews
It's the summer of 1960 in Elm Haven, Illinois, and five 12-year old boys are forming the bonds that a lifetime of changes will never erase. But then a dark cloud threatens the bright promise of summer vacation: on the last day of school, their classmate Tubby Cooke vanishes. Soon, the group discovers stories of other children who once disappeared from Elm Haven. And there ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 1st 1992 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1991)
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John Youngblood It must be something going around. I also read AWH first, not realizing it was a sequel. I also subsequently read SON (twice!) and found it superior,…moreIt must be something going around. I also read AWH first, not realizing it was a sequel. I also subsequently read SON (twice!) and found it superior, in mood and context.(less)

Community Reviews

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May 09, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of horror.
Shelves: horror
The thing that impressed me about this book was not so much Simmons' ability to scare, but to build characters and the world they live in. Simmons draws a map of this small town in your head so well that the reader can see everything that happens vividly. I read other reviews criticizing the time the story takes to develop, but I feel that this is one of the strengths. It is a couple hundred pages in before something scary actually happens. By this time, the reader is anticipating these events, ...more
Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I know many will call it blasphemy, but this book put Simmons ahead of King in my mental list of great horror authors. "Summer of Night" is closest in story to "It" only without the haphazard ending (and 400 pages shorter). When you pick this book up at the store, you will notice that it is a thin book, and make the same assumption that I did, which was that I was about to read a 200-300 page story. About 100 pages in, it dawned on me that there was still a long way to go, flipping to the back I ...more
Edward Lorn
Jan 10, 2016 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans and that one dude I knew in school.
Shelves: paperbacks
Preface: Some of you will read this review and wonder why I gave it such a high score when I had such a big problem with a certain aspect of the storyline. Those of you who feel confused by my rating should know that, yes, this book is terrific. It transported me to another time and place. For me, it effortlessly captured a sense of nostalgia for something I never experienced. I wasn't alive in the 60s. I didn't grow up in a small town, though I did live in one for my final years as a teenager. ...more
May 02, 2010 Kasia rated it it was amazing
Summer of Night was one of the most incredible books I have ever read and mind you it's not because I'd rather read a book on a Friday night than party, much to my boyfriends dismay as I so often do.

Dan Simmons wove a masterful tale of 1960's Illinois with its cozy little town and streets, Saturday outdoor movies and the kids who were the true heroes of the story. It reminded me of Goonies in places as we quickly grow to like Dale and his younger brother Lawrance, Mike, Duane and Kevin and Jim H
Summer Of Night is a bloated book (I have a 500 page hardcover) that could really, really use some good editing. Dan Simmons clearly has good intentions, but most of them are lost in complete staleness and cliches of the plot.

So far, one of my favorite books I've re-read this year has been King's IT, which I consider one of his true masterpieces. After finishing Summer of Night, I can't help but think that Dan Simmons also shared my enthusiasm and sat down to write his own IT. Ultimately, though
Orbi Alter
Aug 06, 2016 Orbi Alter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Obozavam knjige koje me ucine nostalgicnom za vremenima s kojima stvarno nemam nikakvih dodirnih tocaka... Prica se dogada sezdesetih u malom farmerskom mjestascu za vrijeme vruceg i mracnog ljeta. Podsjeca na It u smislu da drustvo klinaca vodi bitku sa drevnim, iskonskim zlom i putem prozivljava teror koji ih sve jace povezuje. Naravno i da mislim da je nezahvalno usporedivati ovaj hororac s nekim drugim jer je on toliko vise od toga. Onako ugrubo, prica je to o nestanku jednog klinca na zadnj ...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

4.5 stars

Summer of Night is one of those books where the story is a delight to read but the review is kind of hard to do. It's also my first novel from Dan Simmons. After finishing this book, I definitely want to read more of his work soon.

The story is a sort of coming-of-age tale centered around a group of children growing up together in a small town in the 60's. School is out, summer is here, how exciting. The author brings alive the excitement of that first summer day when school is out and o
Feb 05, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All Dan Simmons fans know that he can write successfully in any genre he chooses and that he likes to mix horror into various other genres. Here is his YA/horror novel. It's a bit too horrific, profane, violent, sexy and grim to actually appear in the YA section of any bookstore, though, what with all the guns, swearing, incipient sexuality amongst eleven year-olds, kiddie-crime and gruesome, well, horror. Which is, of course, why it's great and worth any eleven-year-old's time (or that of any o ...more
Adam Light
I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that Dan Simmons' Summer Of Night is a "must read" for all horror fiction fans. I made it forty years before ever hearing about it.
What I will say is that I find it almost criminal that this coming of age horror tale is so obscure. I am thankful for the freinds I have on Goodreads for cluing me in on Simmons.The first one of his books I read was the astonishingly complex and brilliant Carrion Comfort, which is a "must read." This one should be read by any
Considering how long ago I read this the first time around, I had forgotten most of the "little details" concerning this book. Still one of my favorites. :)
I read "The Winter Haunting" which is the sequel to this book. On Goodreads it shows these books as a trilogy called The Seasons of Horror, I cannot find these books grouped together as a trilogy anywhere else. After reading the reviews for the 2nd book in the trilogy called "The Children of the Night", I realized that not one of the reviewers spoke of this book or the 3rd, "The Winter calling". The first and the third do go together. The characters in this book are a group of friends when they ...more
Stephen King book blurb says: "If Summer of the Night isn't the best horror novel of the last five years, it is surely one of the best three - a gorgeous and terrifying story of five boys who come face to face with a monstrous entity during an enchanted Illinois summer thirty years ago. Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel, loading his American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia. This is one of those rare must-read books, easily surpassing Clive Barker's Books ...more
May 25, 2012 Jake rated it really liked it
Ever wanted to read a Stephen King novel that DOESN'T have a shitty ending? Here ye go. Simmons manages to cram together everything cool about Stand By Me and It with none of the bloat, while throwing in a little bit of The Sandlot and a whole lot of balls. Main characters die suddenly and savagely. Sixth-graders murder people. Hundreds of shots are fired. And everything makes sense in the end. But not, y'know, TOO much sense. It's a damn good, creepy time.

If I HAD a gripe, it would be that the
Jan 16, 2008 Blake rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Blake by: my dad, i think
I've read this book twice. There's something about young kids battling great, dark, unknown forces that always gets my blood pumping. the secret world of youth/innocence in the context of supernatural, otherwise invisible dimensions. how adults lose their seeing eyes perhaps because they're afraid of that which they can't comprehend, or that which they deny. there are a few chilling scenes in this book that still return to me every now and then. i probably love this book in the same way i love t ...more
Leah Polcar
This review refers to the audiobook.

I only heard of Dan Simmons recently when one of my Goodreads groups had Summer of Night as an option for a group read. Truly, I was only mildly interested. Between the sort of cheesy cover and the description -- kids confront ancient evil in their own backyard and fight to save humanity, or something like that -- it's only saving grace seemed that it was the best of a bad lot. Then I saw some reviews proclaiming Dan Simmons a horror genius and saying that
Thomas Strömquist
First of 2016 - Buddy read with Edward Lorn - first one to enter my favorite shelf in quite some time!

In what should be a perfectly normal summer of 1960 in Elm Haven, a group of kids gets aware that a great evil is waking up. On the last day of school, one boy vanishes and other strange things starts happening. All seems to be connected to their school itself, the Old Central. As the kids starts to tentatively investigate some of the odd happenings, sightings and strange behaving townspeople th
Feb 04, 2013 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a while there comes a book that completely lives up to all its hype and great reviews, a book that transcends genres by not just being a great horror story, but a great novel, a great work of fiction. Summer of Night is one of those books. Epic in scope, massive and thoroughly awesome in every way. The author perfectly captures the freedom and excitement of being a kid during the summer. It's well written and genuinely scary in parts. The pages and characters come to life with cinematic ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The author has a masterful control of language. The story brings to life a childhood summer and the sense of nostalgia most of us feel when looking back on childhood events that bear significance on our lives. Tapping this archetypal current of experience, Simmons develops the setting and characters thoroughly before delving into the plot and the action.
The early chapters (perhaps through chapter 19) establish the setting, atmosphere and characters with hints of horror subtly interspersed at ver
Nov 04, 2015 Qzman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nakon par mjeseci odsustva sa sajta,red je da se malo aktiviram.Dobar horor,nema sta(zavrsnica romana atipicna za Simonsa).Mnogo maste je potroseno za opise demonskih hordi koje opsjedaju mali,i do tada mirni Elm Hejven.grupica drugara je u fokusu,stali su na zulj slugama tame,i oni ce biti jedina nada svojim sugradjanima.Radnja se odvija brzo,nekako trilerski,finale takodje,i zato mi se nije bas svidjeo roman.Ipak horor i fantazi elementi romana su na visokom nivou,kao i pripovjedacki dar Dena ...more
Oct 02, 2010 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Did you know that the monster under the bed is real? So is the one in the closet. As for that creepy school janitor, there is a very dark reason he is so creepy.

This is my second taste of Dan Simmon's work, one that leaves me ready to kick myself for not finding him sooner. He's been at it for a while now-this book dates from 1991-but he flew under my radar until I recently read the very excellent The Terror, and now this.

Simmon's ability to pack 600 pages rich with detail is easily to that of S
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 31, 2014 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Summer of Night could be shorter and it wouldn't lose anything. I see readers comparing it to It or Boy's Life. Fortunately for this book, I still have to read Boy's Life, so that leaves It. I don't think it could stand the comparison to both. The similarities with It are obvious - a group of pre-teens fighting something evil. However, while I liked the children from It, it took me a while to see anything remotely good in this group.

Certain things are a bit repetitive. Yes, we got that Kevin
Jan 15, 2014 Addy rated it really liked it
This book was very slow to the action that its very possible for someone to give up. However, if you're determined to finish, like i was, you won't be disappointed. The characters were fun to get to know and there were definitely some memorable creepy parts along with interesting research done by the boys. The action towards the end was a little stretched out, but pretty awesome and satisfying. Dan Simmons is a little too wordy sometimes for me, but the language he uses can be beautiful. He is d ...more
11811 (Eleven)
Jun 22, 2011 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Stephen King blurbs on the cover that he is in awe of Dan Simmons. I concur. Simmons resurrects all your childhood fears and confirms their validity. Their IS something under the bed, its pissed, and you have every reason to be very afraid.
Sep 15, 2016 Johann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Old Central School still stood upright, holding its secrets and silences firmly within. Eighty-four years of chalkdust floated in the rare shafts of sunlight inside while the memories of more than eight decades of varnishings rose from the dark stairs and floors to tinge the trapped air with the mahogany scent of coffins."

This book is a story about five 12-year old boys who live in Elm Haven in 1960. It follows them through their summer holidays as they encounter a number of strange happenings
Horace Derwent
no, it's not long for me, my dear alex

but it's too pricy for me, i don't know what the hecking mackerel

so i've decided to read this long
Dec 21, 2016 Mindi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a kid I loved John Bellairs. His books were horror for the pre-teen set. All of them were steeped in Catholicism and involved small town kids from bygone eras who had to fight some sort of ancient evil. Usually there was an adult there to lend a hand, but for the most part the kids were on their own when it came to saving the world. Summer of Night is like John Bellairs for adults in the best way.

The kids in this novel! I loved every one of them. My copy had an introduction by Simmons
Jul 19, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it
The summer that went wrong in a very bad way - and I'm not talking about broken AC or a bad vacation. Video review at under Book Reviews.

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons is another masterwork by one of the 21st century's greatest fiction writers. Yes, I'm a professed fanboy of Simmons. He wrote the Hyperion cantos, a science-fiction odyssey that examines the core of humanity. But that’s another story. Summer of Night is a different animal altogether. It’s a little horror t
Aug 02, 2011 Pamela rated it did not like it
(This was a goodreads give-away.)

I was so excited when I got this book. I had never read any of Simmons' work, but looking at the back cover, I was definitely impressed. Hugo Award. World Fantasy Award. Bram Stoker Award. Shirley Jackson Award. NYT bestsellers.

And since this is a reprinting, there won't be any of those pesky little things that come from sloppy editing.

Oh Wow!

Cracked it open and got ready to be Scared with a capital S.

Did not expect to be Bored with a capital B.

Did not expect to
This review is being written several years after I read the book. Every now and then, this book pops into my head as being one of the best horror novels to keep me up all night since my early experiences with the writing of Stephen King. I read the sequel to this book a couple of years before I read this book; I didn't know there was an earlier book until I was halfway through the second. I give the book 4.5 stars because the last 100 or so pages were just too fantastical, too detailed, and too ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 23, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Oh no, not Tubby! :)

This book was excellent not so much in its horror (which was pretty horrific anyway), but in the way the town the characters live in is so complex and nostalgic. It has everything that one of those 20th century backwater small towns have and then some, and though this book is a horror novel it has its comedic moments and moments of true friendship as well. When Tubby Cooke, a local boy, goes missing, the main characters begin to unravel a sinister secret about their home th
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Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
More about Dan Simmons...

Other Books in the Series

Seasons of Horror (3 books)
  • Children of the Night
  • A Winter Haunting

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“The sunset was that long, achingly beautiful balance of stillness in which the sun seemed to hover like a red balloon above the western horizon, the entire sky catching fire from the death of day; a sunset unique to the American Midwest and ignored by most of its inhabitants. The twilight brought the promise of coolness and the certain threat of night.” 4 likes
“People always pay a lot of money for things that make them stupid.” 4 likes
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